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WASHINGTON: Billionaire Warren Buffett’s investment powerhouse Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital announced yesterday that they would take over venerable US ketchup maker Heinz in a deal worth $28bn.
The buyers heralded 144 year old HJ Heinz Co’s strong, global portfolio of prepared food brands, which Buffett called “great tasting” products. Heinz said it was the largest ever takeover in the food industry.
The two buyers will pay Heinz shareholders $72.50 per share in cash — a 20 percent premium on Heinz’s Wednesday closing price. Counting debt assumed by the buyers, the deal valued Heinz at about $28bn, they said.
With $11.6bn in global sales last year, Heinz is one of the largest US food companies. It owns top prepared food brands such as ABC sauces in Asia, Quero sauces in Latin America, Golden Circle in Australia, OreIda frozen potatoes sold globally, Honig in the Netherlands, Plasmon baby food in Italy, and Classico pasta sauces and Smart Ones low-calorie frozen foods in North America.
But its main products are the iconic Heinz ketchup, sold globally through markets and fast-food vendors, and one of its earliest favourites in the United States, canned baked beans.
“The Heinz brand is one of the most respected brands in the global food industry and this historic transaction provides tremendous value to Heinz shareholders,” said Heinz Chairman and Chief Executive William Johnson. “With Heinz stock recently at an all-time high and 30 consecutive quarters of organic topline growth, Heinz is being acquired from a position of strength.
“As a private enterprise, Heinz will have an opportunity to drive further growth and advance our commitment to providing consumers across the globe with great tasting, nutritious and wholesome products.” AFP